4-H began a century ago to provide positive youth-development experiences. Today, it extends worldwide and is America's largest out-of-school educational program for boys and girls.
Colorado youngsters are naturally included to favor equestrian activities. With vast amounts of Denver real estate dedicated to ranching and farming, and with a fair amount of ranchettes and the community appreciation of equestrian (RMQHA, Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, etc.), this area is hot to trot for 4-H. Colorado is divided into regions, with most of the Denver area in the “Northern Region” and counties beginning south at Douglas and Elbert are the “Southern Region.”
Connecting youth with parents, adults and youth mentors, the organization develops life skills such as communication, citizenship, decision-making, leadership, interpersonal relations and community and global awareness.
Skills are taught using hands-on projects like cooking, sewing, livestock, wildlife, archery, electricity, computers, science as well as using community service activities like helping the elderly or landscaping public areas.
Educational activities like tours, workshops, achievement programs, camps, statewide conferences, exchanges, exhibits and fairs, national events like the popular National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference add to the Colorado 4-H Calendar which is chocked full of events and opportunities (such as special scholarships).
Curriculum is provided through the local land-grant university. In Colorado that is Colorado State University. Private funds from individuals, businesses and organizations enhance the 4-H program by supporting special events, awards and recognition and supplemental educational materials.
More than 6.5 million participants from cities, suburbs and rural areas and 45 million alumni have benefited from a wide variety of programs. Youth 5-7 years old enroll in the 4-H Cloverbud groups and ages 8-19 enroll in the regular 4-H groups and clubs. Adults may volunteer by contacting the nearest county extension office.
With the tremendous opportunities to gain skills, meet lifelong friends and to be creative, it is no wonder that 4-H youth are more likely than others to report that they succeed in school, get more A's, are leaders in school and community, are role models for other youth, and help others in the community. These student leaders also find fulfillment participating in the Western (and Eastern) National 4-H Roundups, the APHA World Show Youth Team Tournament and the American Youth Horse Council. He-haw!
With such a strong impact on the lives of youth and America, this organization continues to walk the talk of its motto: "Make the Best Better."
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